Artist of the Month: senior Galen Hartwell

The Oracle asks senior artist Galen Hartwell about her artwork.

An oil painting by Hartwell of a crab on a beachy shore.

The Oracle: What type of art do you create?

Galen Hartwell: Mostly acrylic, but I’ve dipped my toe in almost everything. I get very ambitious sometimes and am not afraid to get my hands dirty. I mix and match a lot of different mediums and have used unconventional mediums like mirror and magazine. I also take on hard compositions and difficult sizes just to give myself a challenge. It makes the process much more fun and memorable.

TO: What artists or paintings have influenced you?

GH: Definitely the Impressionists. My favorite painting is “Magpie” by Monet.

TO: Do you have any advice for aspiring painters?

GH: Follow what makes you happy and share yourself with the world and you will be surprised on what you see back.

TO: What type of work have you done in the past?

GH: I’ve been drawing and painting since I was old enough to hold a crayon and not eat it. I got my first oil pastel set from a past babysitter when I was eight. She was an artist herself and liked to take me to lots of museums when I lived in London. Long story short, she exposed me to things like acrylics and pastels, and that was my first real experience with art as a hobby. I mostly drew faces and things from nature. They were mediocre, but I kept wanting to improve. I also took watercolor and figure drawing classes.

TO: Where do you find inspiration for your work?

GH: My inspiration comes from everything: music, dance, other art, images, sayings, anything creative really. I think all these creative outlets are connected and influence each other. For example, I always listen to music when I paint. It’s unnatural for me not to do so.

TO: When you paint do you have a certain picture in your mind already, or do you just go where the paint takes you?

GH: A little bit of both actually. I usually start out with an image in my head, but in the end, it never turns out quite how I expected it would, but that’s kind of the fun of it, too.”

TO: What do you enjoy the most about painting?

GH: I’m not too attached to my art in the sense that I enjoy the process much more than the end result. I create art to express and to put a piece of myself on the canvas, not to have something I can stick on my wall. Of course I value other people’s opinions though. There’s nothing more rewarding than having someone like something that is so raw-ly you. But what other people think does not influence what I paint or what I am most proud of. I do it for me.

—Compiled by Erica Lee

Photos by: Wendy Qiu

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